The Journal, Tuesday, 10/24

Hey Folks,

One of my new favorite quotes: “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work.” ~ Stephen King

Stephen King introduces the 1986 edition of The Running Man with an essay titled “The Importance of Being Bachman.” The essay is nothing short of a gem, and I encourage you to read it.

I took the liberty of transcribing it into a Word document, then saved it as a PDF file and added it to my Free Stuff page on my website.

Please go there and download it. Read it. If you don’t glean something important from it… well, I’m betting you will. UPDATE: Just in case the link gives you trouble, try this one: http://harveystanbrough.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/The-Importance-of-Being-Bachman.pdf.

In full disclosure, I did not get the man’s permission to reprint this. However, given my purpose for doing so, I believe strongly enough that he wouldn’t mind that I’m willing to risk having my rear end handed to me in court.

King had written a longer (and angrier) essay titled “Why I Was Bachman” a year earlier. It served as the introduction to The Bachman Books, which contains The Long Walk, Roadwork, and The Running Man.

I believe the 1985 essay is the one he was referring to in “The Importance of Being Bachman” when he said the too-nosy press’s outing of Bachman as King was not a good thing.

I agree.

Anyway, go. Download it. Learn stuff.
***

Welp, World Series Game 1 tonight on Fox. Only 4, 5, 6 or 7 games left in the year. I will miss baseball.
***

I wrote a little fiction today, but nothing I’m counting. It wasn’t really storytelling. It was more a kind of therapy, maybe.

Anyway, I’ll finish up this Journal entry then call it an early day. Huh. As I applied the numbers for today, I realized my nonfiction has outdistanced my fiction for the month.

Topic: We Few, the Fortunates

Awhile back I posted a blog over at HarveyStanbrough.com titled “Why Do You Write?” I think probably I can answer that now, at least for myself.

Possibly the most annoying aspect of human life is 20-20 hindsight and the realization that we don’t get a do-over.

When I graduated basic training for the USMC 47 years ago (November 1970), I was assigned the military occupational specialty (MOS) I wanted: 0331 (Machine Gunner). I was slated as a Feb/Mar 1971 replacement for the 3rd Marine Division in RVN.

But while I was on leave, my MOS was changed to 6700, Basic HAWK (missile) Fire Control Crewman, and I was ordered to report to Ft. Bliss at El Paso for training.

I was devastated.

And then 40+ years later I found out from another Marine who preceded me by a few years that I could have requested my MOS be reinstated. He knew because he had done it. He came out of boot camp as an Avionics tech, requested 0311 (Basic Rifleman) and got it.

All I knew back then was “Follow your last order first” and “The Corps sends you where they want you to be.” I never thought to question the change of MOS and orders. I never realized questioning it was possible.

Anyway, like I said, there are no do-overs. If you don’t know enough to get it right the first time, well, you’re just what we used to call Ess Oh Ell.

After all, there is no right or wrong. You do your best, then live with the ghosts.

But that’s where we, the writers, have at least a very minor advantage. We can’t do it over, but we can have others do it over in our stead. At least I realized that much in time.

So I wrote Wes Crowley and let him do what I couldn’t because I was born about a hundred years too late.

I wrote mafioso and let them do what I couldn’t because I wasn’t born into the right nationality or community.

I wrote an explosives expert and let him blow up a strategic train trestle because I wasn’t alive to do it myself during the Spanish Civil War.

I wrote PIs and detectives because I couldn’t put up with human garbage long enough to last more than a year as a cop. (When you begin to wonder how long juries give cops for murder anyway, it’s time to move on.)

I built a lunar settlement and wrote the settlers because I’ll never get to settle on the moon.

I wrote space travelers and alien species because I’ll never get to meet them unless, fingers crossed, they hurry up and come here.

And I wrote warriors, warriors, warriors of all kinds because I didn’t know enough to take charge of my own life at a young age.

And I’ll write more. Because it’s what I do. We who miss the boat write the wake. (Yeah, isn’t that a great double-entendre word?)

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

You can now download Steven Hawking’s doctoral thesis, “Properties of Expanding Universes,” once the website is back up. It had so many requests it crashed: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/251038.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 850 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 850

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650
Day 6…… 1407 words. Total words to date…… 9057
Day 7…… 1180 words. Total words to date…… 10237
Day 8…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 12462
Total fiction words for the year………… 446608
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12620
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 165303
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 611911

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 695 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182